blackmail press 21
James Emerson
New Zealand

crossed cultures - special issue
A Maori in London

As I empty the contents
of my black over sized satchel
of kiwiana
onto the cobbles
outside the gates of Downing Street
the grip of the policeman’s hands
firms on his submachine gun
like the twisting of a cork
from a black bottle

I wonder
as he asks me where I am from
his cross-hair
pointed at my face
symbolic scripture
worn over body armour

I am not Muslim or Christian
nor a follower of religion
I am a Maori in London
and I will ride the tube
and I will ride on a bus

this is the same look of mistrust
I have faced
in the Remueras and Fendaltons
where among their affluent
I am effluent

and if I were to shock them
I too would strike at the heart
of their
long white splinter
as I am a Maori in London

Inside you am I

Featured Artist Fiona Holding